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2013 Ukraine/Moldova Annual Conference

May 31-June 2, Uzhgorod, Ukraine

The 2013 Ukraine/Moldova Annual Conference declared the theme "FaithHopeLove" in a small village near Uzhgorod, Ukraine from May 31-June 2. It was hosted by the cluster of United Methodist churches in the Uzhgorod area and held at the Kamelot conference center. Bishop Eduard Khegay presided at his first Ukraine/Moldova Annual Conference since his election as Bishop of Eurasia in 2012. He ably covered all of the necessary legislation, and led great conversation on the themes of leadership characteristics and the Eurasia Roadmap 2015 - a long-term plan of greater self-sufficiency and growth for churches in Eurasia.

About 30 delegates and guests representing the conference's 16 churches gathered to discuss the work of the church in Ukraine and Moldova. During the statistical report it was noted that while different churches had faced challenging circumstances, the membership role grew from 408 to 457 with the 49 new members or 8 percent membership growth in a large part thanks to the efforts of new church development. Some discussion was had concerning how to accurately measure average attendance, as some churches hold multiple worship services during the week, but only account for attendance at the Sunday morning service. Depending on the metric uses, worship attendance either held steady or grew tremendously. It is exciting to note that the number of children and youth participating in the life of the church doubled from 64 to 129. On our path to self-sufficiency, it is also important to highlight that the amount given by local churches in tithes and offerings grew across the conference.

Guidelines were read and discussed concerning differentiating churches and Bible groups. This distinction will be based on membership or church attendance and will set guidelines for representation at annual conference and will help churches determine an appropriate salary for their pastor. In a separate discussion, Bishop Khegay noted that in a conference of 16 churches there are only two ordained elders who serve under the leadership of the two district superintendents.

The delegates and many guests from the surrounding churches and across country lines gathered for a closing worship service where Bishop Khegay challenged the worshipers in a sermon on "FaithHopeLove." One new provisional elder, Ihor Zhabura, was accepted. Musical groups from various churches in the area gifted the large congregation with their talents, and the delegates and guests were sent back to their ministries to continue the good work of the churches of Ukraine and Moldova.

- Michael B. Airgood, Standard Support Missionary toL'viv, Ukraine.